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Smart Home

How to string multiple Alexa commands together

Your Alexa speaker is now capable of handling a string of commands. Here's how.

Smart speakers do a great job of making simple tasks around the house easier. Control the brightness or color of your lights, change the thermostat temperature, control multiple alarms and timers and even order food for dinner. However, sometimes, sometimes speaking multiple commands feels like a slog -- like you could whip out your phone and tap a few times to accomplish the same thing in less time or fewer steps.

At long last, Amazon has come up with a solution of sorts. It's called Follow-Up Mode and it lets you give multiple commands to an Alexa smart speaker like an Echo Dot without having to say the wake word each time. (It works with at least some third-party Alexa devices as well.) Here's how to use it.

How to enable Alexa's Follow-Up Mode

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Unlike many new Alexa features, Follow-Up Mode is off by default. You just need to enable it either on the web or in the Alexa app.

  • Go to alexa.amazon.com in a browser or open the Alexa app on Android or iOS.
  • In the left menu, go to Settings.
  • Choose one of your Alexa speakers (the feature is enabled on a per-device basis).
  • Scroll down and under General toggle Follow-Up Mode to On.

If you don't see the Follow-Up Mode option, you may have to wait until your speaker updates. Try force closing the application and power cycling your Alexa speakers.

How Follow-Up Mode works

Follow-Up Mode is made possible by Alexa continuing to listen for commands after she's handled one. After your first command has been processed, Alexa will say, "OK." Then you have a few seconds to fire off another.

Follow-Up Mode isn't quite as neatly packaged as the similar Google Home feature that lets you group two commands together and even assign them to a shortcut. For instance, with a Google Home shortcut, you can condense "OK, Google, turn on the living room lights and turn on the TV" to something as simple as "OK, Google, TV time."

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On the other hand, with Follow-Up Mode, you aren't limited to just two commands at a time like with Google Home. Instead, you can just continue to fire off command after command and Alexa will keep handling them one at a time.

Here's an example of how you can use this: "Alexa, turn on the office lights." (Wait for "OK.") "Turn the volume to eight." (Wait for "OK.") "Set the temperature to 68."

Follow-Up Mode also will not work while you're using the speaker to place a call or the speaker is streaming music, an audiobook or podcast. And to stop Alexa from listening after you've finished off a few rapid-fire commands, you can say, "Stop," "Cancel," "Go to sleep" or "Thank you."